Invisible Air

Our transition continues. Specifically, right now my eyes and my lungs are going through the transition of not seeing the air I breathe. My ears are going through the transition of not hearing the hum of the A/C while I sleep. Instead they have to listen ti the chirping of birds starting at around 4:30 in the morning, just as the sun inches up on the horizon.

In short, it is an overall very soothing experience.

I should also point out, the milk from the cows that eat this green grass in the pasture, well that milk is divine and so are the cheeses. There I said it – I am smitten.

Stay sharp

Cheers Markus \m/

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What I Will Not Miss…

…is the traffic in Bangkok and the resulting brutal pollution. It does not matter what month, what weekday or what time of the day, Bangkok is always choking on its insane and uncoordinated traffic. I will not miss it one bit.

Today at 4:00pm from a pedestrian overpass near Sukhumvit Soi 18. Cars are standing, yet all engines are running to power the AC inside.

Needless to say air quality is abysmal.

Stay sharp and appreciate a better regulated traffic and better-than-Bangkok air quality.

Cheers Markus \m/

Advertisements For The BTS

A fee years ago I wrote an entry about an advertisement for the BatS. The poster consisted of four topless teenage boys and the headline was:”SuckSeed”. Needless to say, I found the ad hilarious, because it was inadvertently so.

Today I saw a new advertisement poster. One that features two Teddybears in a….well see for yourself and tell me you can see the humor in it.

In my opinion the “bottom” one looks a bit surprised, while the “too” seems to enjoy the situation. I do jot see what this has to do with promoting a very good public transportation system in an otherwise congested and polluted city.

Beats me.

Stay sharp

Cheers Markus \m/

Tourist

Alright, my last three days in Bangkok…as a tourist. Obviously, it would e difficult to ignore my tumultuous seven years and nine months with Bangkok. But we are at the end of the rope and the road, we are parting ways. Bangkok will stay in Thailand and I will not. So, as We walked through Bangkok yesterday, I had that in mind, that we have started many of the “lasts”.

And hence I tried to keep my eyes “extra-open” to catch anything worthwhile soaking up.

I saw this little stencil graffiti on a construction site fence and I thought to myself:”Anything with extra bass in a construction site usually means something big and heavy fell over and so better not any extra bass.

The phone booths, well, I just like them. The interplay of colors and shapes. And Joe will be happy, because this is clearly an opportunity where color beats black and white.

Finally, As I was staring into my empty coffee cup…staring and staring and dreaming and spacing out, I realized that the remains of froth inside the cup, looked like an old-timey map of the world.

Old-timey as in back in the day, when the earth was actually flat.

Do you see it too?

This much from the road.

Stay extra sharp

Cheers Markus \m/

Views And Viewpoints

I want to apologize for dragging the post on for so long. So, let’s see if we can get this thing off the ground.

I want to start with simply a few pictures of vistas we hugged and puffed for along the trek.

This is a view from Chukkung Ri, which we did on our second acclimatization day. Chukkung Ri was also the highest point of our trek. Climbing Chukkung Ri is technically not challenging, but it is high and it was our first foray on this trek above 5000m, which means our pace to summit was significantly slower than our enthusiasm to summit suggested. What we are looking at her is part of the Nuptse-Lhotse-Mt.Everest cluster….but I must admit, I am not quite sure.

Sunrise in Chukkung, where it s beautiful during the day, but cold at night and in the morning. Chukkung is in a fairly narrow extension of the Khumbu valley and it takes some time until the sun warms the area.

The West facing shoulder of Thamserku, as seen from somewhere close to Dingboche. Thamserku has a very characteristic double peak and is a beautiful and huge mountain range.

Here we are in the Thamo valley, looking at the Thamo range. The Thamo valley is beautiful. There is not much traffic, the valley opens up in lower altitudes and people are farming. We descended into Thamo valley after we had finished our last pass – are Renjo La Pass, coming from Gokyo.

Nuptse, Mt. Everest (Chomolungma) and Lhotse seen from Mt. Everest viewpoint. We went up to the hotel and restaurant, called Mt. Everest Viewpoint on our acclimatization day. The hotel and restaurant itself is nestled into the landscape quite nicely, but then again one has to ask, why it was necessary to build a huge hotel with a heli-pad at almost 4000m altitude, just to some tourists can look at the world’s highest mountain without breaking a sweat – earn it by hiking up and it is that much more impressive and relaxing.

Namche Bazar seen from the path to the Everest Viewpoint restaurant. The mountain opposite Namche is the Kongde range. Kongde’s glaciers high on top of the mountain look like giant battle scars. The mountain looks like it had suffered through thousands of incisions with scalpels ranging from extremely sharp to just blunt. Nonetheless, I am always fascinated by this range and I love sketching it.

This was a very special moment for me. I chose this trek, primarily because of the proximity and the views it would offer of Cho Oyu – The Emerald Goddess. And this is our first view of Cho Oyu we had a pretty easy day walking from Thagnak to “the lakeside resort” of Gokyo. I can honestly say, I love this mountain and it’s range, it is so beautiful and majestic.

The view from Chukkung Ri, as the clouds moved in very quickly and obstructed the views of the mountains. This day was great, because nature played hide-and-seek with us. Normally you ascend Chukkung air for the great vistas it offers of Nuptse, Lhotse, Mt.Everest, Island Peak, Ama Dablam, the Nuptse glacier, Imjo Lake and many more, but that day, the clouds came before 9:00am and this offered us only peeks through the clouds. Nonetheless, it was very impressive and it definitely makes for more dramatic pictures.

Cho Oyu from Gokyo in the afternoon. Walking to Gokyo towards Cho Oyu basecamp, past the five lakes leads the trekker through one of the most desolate regions I have ever been. If you ever feel the need to unplug and conduct some serious soul-searching this could definitely be the place.

Another view of Cho Oyu, seen from Gokyo Ri.

Alright, this ends today’s entry.

Cheers and stay sharp

Markus \m/

3 Passes And 2 Summits

We were gone for a nice while. We went to Nepal to trek. Due to a series of lucky events we had time this Spring and decided to walk the Three Passes Trek in the Solo Khumbu area of the Himalayas. Yes, this is the same area where every year over two annual seasons, clients pay a lot of money to pursue their dream of standing on the highest point on earth – Mount Everest.

Here is the itinerary we followed:

Day1: arrival in Kathmandu

Day2: explore Kathmandu

Day3: fly from Kathmandu to Lukla. Then hike from Lukla to Phakding

Day4: hike from Phakding to Namche Bazar

Day5: acclimatization day in Namche. Hike to Everest View Point and enjoy the view.

Day6: trek from Namche to Tyengboche and then on to Deboche.

Day7: trek from Deboche to Dingboche

Day8: trek from Dingboche to Chukkung. Hike around the neighborhood and enjoy the views.

Day9: walk up to Chukkung Ri and REALLY enjoy the views of Nuptse, Lhotse, Mt. Everest, Island Peak, Imjo Lake, etc.

Day10: trek from Chukkung across Kongma La pass to Lobuche

Day11: enjoy the easy day as you trek from Lobuche to Dzongla

Day12: leave from Dzongla and climb your way across Chola pass to Thaknak

Day13: enjoy another easy da as you walk from Thaknak to Gokyo (the world’s highest* “Lake Side Resort”)

* and coldest

Day14: climb Gokyo Ri to enjoy the spectacular view over 4 8000m peaks as well as many other 6000 and 7000m peaks

Day15: from Gokyo trek across the last of the three passes – Renjo La – to arrive in Lungden. The views from Renjo La are the best of the whole trek.

Day 16: start the descent from Lungden to Thame through the beautiful Thamo valley.

Day 17: continue descending from Thame to Namche through the moat beautiful scenery – wonderful villages, blooming rhododendron fields and lush, green, enchanted forests.

Day18: the long way from Namche through Phakding to Lukla.

Day19: Fly from Lukla to Kathmandu

More details to come as I finish pictures.

Cheers

Markus \m/

And The Soul Breathes Fresh Air…

….and so do we.

A lot has happened since the 2015 earthquake in Nepal that impacted the Khumbu region greatly. I am not sure if all the international help that poured into the country was really used properly and appropriately. There are still many people living in wooden shacks. At the same time amazingly, a few brand-spanking new, big lodges have already been built. Funny how that works…

The area, the impressions and the people are as amazing and impressive as ever….truly walking among giants.

More soon.

Cheers from thin-air-country

Markus \m/